Tuesday, December 30, 2014


Since I advertise my pieces on Craigslist and Etsy, I get quite a few calls from customers who see some of my past orders and want the same thing redone for them. And BTW, I always link my pics on CL back to my blog! I get a ton of requests from people who view! 

So here was the piece that I had listed on Etsy, but had sold:

And here is the piece she chose to have me paint. She also wanted me to do the geometric accent on top, but I thought this piece already had too much going on visually. Plus, doing that accent is quite a bit of work. She wanted this piece done in 4 days! No way was that going to happen with all the hand painting I had to do. 

This dresser killed me!! Everything that could have went wrong, did! Just about. I was so stressed about all the problems that I encountered while trying to bust this one out! 
Let me 'splain! 
Amazingly, it turned out rather well. I literally put on the last finishing touches and it was loaded on the truck for delivery at 9:30 at night. 2 days before Xmas, and 8 days after her original delivery day request!  I had to tell her that I can't be rushed on these babies. There is far too much detail work to speed through. Luckily, she understood.  
This shot shows how I was trying out different shades of blue and gold metallic to see which one she liked. All she kept saying was, "I want the same blue you used on the other piece!"

Ok. So first things first. What in the heck color did I use on the original piece???!! Hmm, Gee Beth, I don't know because I don't keep records of what I paint on what piece. I just think I'm so darn good at remembering that I'll just know when prompted! Uh, no. I thought I had more of the paint, which I did, but it was in a tub with no markings. However, a few months ago I did buy a quart of BM "Evening Blue" because I saw it painted on a dresser that someone else did. It was pretty darn close to the original piece. 
I had my sprayer guy (I wasn't in the mood to get out the sprayer and the drawers were too intricate to paint with a brush,,,,,,,I'll get to that fiasco in a minute) take the dresser and prep and prime it for me prior to spraying. He's done some other pieces for me to help out. I asked him to tape everything off for a more professional look.  During this time, it rained for a few days so that ended up pushing things back. He brought everything back but I was not happy with the top. This dresser was made w/MDF and a weird coating on top. When you sand, it takes you directly down to the mdf which is not very smooth. It also has pits. We had tried to fill in some spots, but they just showed through. Sooooo, off he went back with the body for some more detail work. He left the drawers behind so I could do the gold on the rings. He had to go get more paint while it was at his place. He said he could buy BM paint at the store by him which he did, and then resprayed the body with the new paint.  
No problem right??? Uh, here's where a lesson was learned. 
I bought the original paint at ACE where they have the Ben Moore colorants. He went to Vista Paint where they sell BM paint, but use their own colorants. 
Can you see where this is leading?????
The next day he dropped off the dresser and the top looked much better. Very nice job. 
Until I brought over the drawers that he left with me. Two completely different shades!! 
He showed me the paint can. BM, Evening Blue. That's where I learned the lesson about different colorants. 
Off he goes to my ACE store to get more paint. I wasn't about to send it off to his place to get sprayed. (It was supposed to be delivered the next day!) 
So I hand painted the body with two more coats of the new color. 
I also had to touch up a lot of blue on the drawers that he missed with the sprayer. 
As for the gold, well, I used Modern Masters metallic gold. It just doesn't paint well over the blue semi-gloss. I had to sand down the blue a bit, prime with gray and then use an artist brush to paint all the gold rings. It took 3-4 coats. Then I had to go back over the surrounding areas with blue to make the lines crisp and neat! Oy!! Even the handles gave me grief!! After cleaning and sanding the original, I sprayed with Krylon because I love their brass-gold color. But it tends to ripple at times. I spent hours on these just to get them smooth and defect free! 

After I showed her the pic to make sure it was what she wanted, she though she might like me to do gold on all the moldings around the handles!! WHAT??!! Oh hell to the no. 
Just doing those rings took me 8-10 hours of work, believe it or not. It's very painstaking. 
I said I would do it, but it would cost her and I would need a few more days. But then I added that once she saw all the handles added it would be enough gold. Too much would be an overkill. In my opinion. Luckily she agreed and that idea was nixed. 
Using high quality brushes and rollers are paramount to get smooth looks. 
I also lined the top 3 drawers with really cool black and gold paper, but forgot to take a pic! 
Anyway, so that's the saga.
When she finally got it, she was very happy and loved it. All the mistakes that we as painters can see, often go unnoticed by someone else. I'm definitely my own worst critic! 

end of year wrap ups at domestically speaking, southern hospitality, beyond the picket fence, Currently @ Dearest Love, Random Wednesday @ Because Shanna Said So, sharing is caring: , thrifty treasures @ southern hospitality, travel photo mondays @ travel photo discovery,   , Monthly projects @ Evolution of Style Make it Pretty Mon @ Dedicated House  inspire me mondays t @ domestically speaking,   Before and After @ Thrifty Decor Chick,    Mod Vintage Life, Motivate Me Mon @Keeping it Simplepersia lou,  home stories a-z, nifty thrifty @ Coastal Charm, be inspired @ elizabeth and co, the scoop @ stone gable,  inspire me tues, lil luna, you're gonna love it @ kimsixfix, get your craft on, sugar bee craftsyour designs this time, inspire me weds @ 733, wow us weds @ savvy southern style,  twirl and take a bow @ house on the way, work it weds @ the blissful bee, outdoor weds @ a southern daydreamer, whimsy wednesday, wicked awesome weds @ handy man, crafty woman, look what i made,  whatever goes weds @ someday craftsthink and make @ houseologie,  charm of home, link party palooza @ tatertots and jello, Flaunt it Friday @ Chic on a Shoestring, open house @ no minimalist here, creativity unleashed @ shaken together,inspiration gallery @ Craftberry BushFrugal Friday @ The Shabby Nest, my romantic homejennifer rizzo, Weekend Bloggy Reading @ Serenity now,  furniture fridays @ mustard seed, Feathered Nest @ French Country Cottage, design it fridays @ finding fabulous, best diy @ 36th ave, overflowing w/ creativity @ it's overflowing, nifty thrifty sundays, under the table and dreaming. inspire me please @ liz marie blog,sunday best @ the girl creative  shaken together

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Elusive Card Catalogs and How I Repurposed Mine!

Ah the rare and oh-so-hard-to-come-by card catalog! Even when you can find them, they will cost you a pretty penny! I did manage to score these two (they actually fit on top of one another) for what I thought was a pretty good deal. Almost two for the price of one! These came from Los Angeles Trade Tech College and are made of solid oak.  Stick with me as I give you a little tutorial on how I turned one of these into something very unique and one-of-a-kind finish! 
Since my plan was to redo them and sell them, I would make more money by splitting them up and selling as two separate pieces. I thought about putting them side by side, like a buffet, but that would have been a pretty hefty price. Not sure I would have been able to unload it. 
I decided to do the one above and make a custom top using oak strips in a herringbone pattern.
Yes, very labor intensive. I've documented the process in the following pics, but I can tell you it was about two weeks worth of work. 
First up is to take this beauty apart and strip her down! 
I had to use a razor to get off the taped numbers. 
Soy Gel stripper took care of the old finish which was then scraped off with a plastic putty knife. (In my joy of doing this process, I guess I forgot to snap pics  ;) 
I found an extra board that was the right size to fit in the middle while the stain on the body was drying.  I used some sort of walnut shade. I also had the other half make a frame to go around the top out of the same oak I was going to use for the pieces. 
The frame has to be square! I'm not the best at that so had him help out! Use a finishing nail gun to attach it to the body.  Fill in the holes, sand and stain.  Before you start with your Jenga pieces, find your center up and across and start your first piece there. Make sure you come up even on both sides. I should have started a little more to the left.
 I went to the lumberyard and bought some white oak planks and ripped them down into 1" widths. Then I determined what size I wanted the herringbone and cut them into 5" lengths. If you missed my post on my sons headboard/art wood piece where I did pretty much the same thing, you can see that HERE.  As for the herringbone pattern, the process is the same that we did for the herringbone ceiling in my living room,,,,HERE.  So, first thing to remember is all of your pieces have to be identical. Make a jig when you cut these. If not, it will throw off your pattern! As it was, these boards are not perfectly straight. Some were bowed and it does cause  some problems when lining up your pieces.

You will get some gaps. I take care of this later. 
               Math is important here! For some reason my ends came out differently even though
               I started dead center and worked outward. It was probably because when I laid my
                                                         first piece, I was over the line. 
 Not a huge deal. It just made cutting those little triangle pieces a little more challenging.
Thanks dear. (didn't want to lose a finger. I let him do the small ones.) 
 After everything was laid, I went over it with the sander a few times. Save your sawdust from the cuttings! They come in handy to fill those gaps I was talking about. I brushed them in and made sure they were filled as best as I could. I also used wood filler. Then I sanded very lightly by hand.
Up close you can see the shavings embedded in the gaps. Don't use wood glue to make them stick! Wood glue does not like stain and you will get uneven white spots! I used about 2 cups of shavings. press them in the gaps and use wood filler here and there. Be careful when using a sander after you do this as it will suck out most of your shavings! Just do a finishing sanding after the shavings.
 Voila! Wiped it down with mineral spirits to clean up everything prior to staining. 
The wood grain really pops after the stain! 
 Couple of coats of GF Urethane and brass polish and elbow grease on the hardware!  

 And properly staged after adding some hairpin legs:

 Wine bar anyone???! 
An old friend of mine saw this and immediately wanted to buy it.
However, she is tiny! Only 4'11. Barely ;)   So I traded in the legs above and
 exchanged them for the 20" hairpins below. Now she can gaze down upon the beautiful top!
Sorry for the garage photo. Wasn't lugging this inside to stage again!
 And I fixed that middle-right drawer. The other pictures highlighted a staining/sanding flaw that just drove me crazy! So I stripped off the finish and redid it. Much better!

Domestically Speaking - The Power of Paint Party   DIY Vintage Chic-Friday

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mahogany Empire in Kelly Green Milk Paint

A friend of mine brought me this old, beat up small dresser to see if there was anything I could do with it.  He had visions of restoring, but I think it was just too much for him. This little dresser was literally falling apart.  Everywhere. Besides all the peeling veneer, the body needed to be secured, the drawers needed glue, Some parts had to be nailed, the casters needed serious cleaning and smoothing up to get them to roll properly, sigh. The list goes on and on. 
  Peeling veneer on the left drawer.  I just removed it all. The larger drawer got a lot of glue.

          Everything got sanded and re-stained because I wanted the darker wood to show
through. The left drawer is the wood that was underneath the veneer that I peeled off. The right was ok.I didn't bother to do a perfect full sanding and staining since only the edges were going to show.
I love doing milk paint on these older bare wood pieces.
There were only two original knobs so I had to go to my stash.
I'm still debating if I like these lighter green glass knobs. 
( Doesn't it look cool with my fern and my pink roses??!) 
 After the milk paint, I applied a generous amount of natural tung oil. It soaked it up like a sponge and still looked rather dull.  I applied another coating and then took the picture. If you see some dry spots on the pics, those are the places I missed. 
The insides of the drawers were horrid! I sanded all of them, inside and out. Sealed with shellac and then painted with GF milk paint in"Patina".  They look good as new. 
 On some areas I went over the bare wood with GF paint first. See how cool the wood looks when distressed?? Thats why I stained it again even though I was painting over it.  
I also did some gluing to the veneer on the top. You can't even tell can you???!

I think this one would look so cool as a bathroom vanity in a period-style house. One with the black and white hex tiles? This piece is rather short, so a taller vessel sink could be added on top to finish it off. This is also a perfect height to attach a changing pad/area ensemble on top.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Pink and Orchid!

I was contacted by a customer who saw my work and asked if I could paint one of the 
dressers I had in my inventory. I had just started painting it in a radiant orchid color.
She said, " I want something very pink with gold accents."  Perfect! I didn't have to repaint. 
This was one of those 70's style dressers that look so cool in bright colors. 
Thank goodness. Because bright is what she wanted and got! 
Yes it is upside down. I was way overstocked!
 And here is the finished product with the colors she wanted. Radiant orchid on the drawers, a custom mix of Gypsy Pink and Orchid on the body, and metallic gold on the handles and accents. Yes I realize it isn't for everyone.  But she has a very specific taste and wanted something bold and beautiful. It's going against a raspberry colored wall. She also has a pink velvet chaise with lots of gold. I think this will fit right in! 
Everything got one coat before I sprayed the gold. (BTW, I hand painted this entire thing)
When she asked me for the gold, I thought I would use a mixture of MM gold with some of the pink. Kind of like getting a very faint glittery gold. Not so "In your face". Well, the customer didn't want mild. She wanted a clear delineation of gold and pink. Ok. Will do. 
 The top and bottom parts were taped off and sprayed twice. It did come out rather nicely!
 Before she even contacted me, I had already started to paint the drawer sides in
"Evening Plum" by General Finishes. I love their milk paint!
Luckily it coordinated with the other colors. 
 Too bad I had sprayed the handles silver before she called and wanted gold. Just more work. 
Regardless of whether or not you like the colors, everyone has there own idea of what they like.
I think the dresser turned out very pretty.  If I had a little girl, I think it would look fab in her room. These styles of dressers just call out for bold paint jobs. A gray chalk paint just would not do anything for this piece. Just like these colors would look silly on an antique mahogany tallboy. I like to consider the piece and try to go from there. Just my 2 cents worth.

And here is the photo Sienna sent me after she got it moved up into her room. Goes perfectly!!